“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” ~ Galatians 5:16-17
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” ~Jeremiah 17:9
How often have you debated whether something was “okay” to do as a believer? How often have you swayed a decision into your own favor with justifying it by claiming it’s “harmless,” thinking “oh, this doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things,” thinking “this doesn’t show I’m not a Christian, so it won’t hurt,” and the list goes on. While I know that Christ is in control of my life, I so often feel that I must be in control over my own life. I think this is where a lot of us fall into sinful temptations and into unconscious doubt in Christ. You know the thoughts that you use to justify decisions. For me, a large block I trip over too often is gossip. When I say trip, I’ve fallen face-first into cement more times than not.
We have to keep in mind that the Bible tells us that our hearts are deceitful above all else (Jeremiah 17:9). I have mixed feelings about emotions and how we, young women, too often attach them to our relationships with Christ and our expectations of our relationships with Him. First, we must remember that emotions are worldly desires that are influenced by our thoughts (which are human nature), our surroundings (also human nature), and our experiences (still nature). Basically, we allow what the world influences us with to determine how we view and feel about our God; which, ultimately determines where our relationship with Him stands.
As believers, especially us young women, often allow emotions to determine our “feelings” towards the Holy Spirit and limit exactly where Christ is in our lives. My perspective towards emotions is one that some may agree with and some may refute quickly. Spiritually speaking, I believe that emotions are inappropriately attached to our relationship with Christ. Can emotions pose a spiritual purpose? Yes. Should emotions serve as an reason to feel far from Christ? No.
So often…and I mean SOOOOOO OFTEN…I allow how I feels about and towards Christ to tell me where I stand with Him. This past winter, I was talking to a great Godly guy, and began to develop feelings for him in the process. We hung out a few times and I truly started to wonder if he would be the one. Our minor investment of each other’s time via texts and basketball games was the highlight of my life at the time.
He was the first Godly guy to walk into my life and treat me with some respect and dignity that went higher than lust. It was short-lived and I was left feeling foolish with lower self-esteem. For a lack of better words, I kinda felt worthless. In the process of my feeling low, I allowed it to become my excuse to not walk as closely with Christ as I had before and during my short-lived thing. I started to feel like Christ was further from me than I had before.
I didn’t realize at the time, but it wasn’t Christ that was far from me; it was me being far from Him. I was dwelling on the fact there was no text being sent as I anxiously awaited an apology or misunderstanding explained instead of pouring out my mangled heart to Him through intentional prayer. I was constantly worried about running into him in public and didn’t find refuge in God’s Word like I should have.
There are many things that I allowed myself to forget or intentionally not do to remain close to Christ. In the end, I found myself apart from Christ in a way that I didn’t want to be. I had allowed my emotions of feeling worthless in the eyes of a guy to influence my true worth to Christ and how I pursued Him. My emotions had gotten the best of me. Thankfully, this didn’t last long. Friends who held me accountable encouraged me to set my broken emotions aside for the time being and find joy in the fact that Christ was still in control and that I was not. Through their accountability, I was able to grow close to Christ again and was able to set my emotions aside and not dictate where I stood with Christ. Praise the Lord for this!
While this emotional setback was somewhat easy to overcome with help from friends, there are many times I’ve fought emotions alone. So it seemed anyways. While I always struggle with emotions pertaining to the opposite sex and fall low to them, my everyday emotions of worth are what really get me. It is a daily fight for me to not allow the way I see myself so often to claim my stance with Christ. When I feel emotionally distraught, I lose all motivation to pray, to stay in the Word, and to surround myself with fellow believers. It truly is my daily fight.
When I feel far from Christ, He is near to me. While I view myself as worthless, He views me as His treasured daughter. My emotions cannot and should not determine where I stand with Him. When we feel these distorted ways, He is our refuge. He is our hope. Though emotions are an important piece in the puzzle of spiritual wisdom, emotions that are influenced by this world have no ground to stand on. Emotions that are not a part of Christ and His love for us hold no importance and do not pour into our relationships with Christ. This, we must remember.